Return to form

My training for the Cardiff Half Marathon has been rather intermittent so far. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it when I go running, or at least after I’ve done it, it’s just that things seem to get in the way. Nothing specific, just stuff.

I went for a 5 mile run today. I didn’t want to. I just wasn’t in the mood. But I read somewhere that the hardest part about running, especially training, is lacing up your shoes and getting out of the door. So whenever I feel like this, I resolve to do just that. Get outside and start running. I didn’t hold out much hope as I began, but the weather was just right – sunny, but not too hot; breezy, but not windy; cool, but not enough to deter one from wearing shorts! I started out, and began to think about how my speed has seemed to wane slightly from when I first got my running shoes. This struck me as odd. Surely I should be getting quicker, or at least not getting slower! Admittedly, my endurance has improved. Thinking about going for a 5 mile run doesn’t (usually!) fill me with dread that I might die halfway round anymore! However, according to my Nike+ device, I don’t appear to be getting quicker, and I’m struggling to reach the pace that I was at 4 months ago. By the way, I’m not aiming for a specific time at the half marathon. For a first timer, I think that getting round will be enough! I digress. As I thought about my speed deteriorating, I realised that my Nike+ device is (as wonderful and useful as it is) basically just a rather fancy pedometer. It is just measuring your steps based on how it had been calibrated to begin with. I have found previously, that when I run quicker, I tend to have to run further to cover the same distance, i.e. my stride must lengthen as I speed up. I also realised that my running style, if you can call it that, has altered, and that I used to run more on the balls of my feet than I do now. So I decided to go back and concentrate on form. I found that I was running quicker and with less effort. I also finished the 5 miles in less distance than I was covering when I ran ‘5 miles’ previously (that does make sense, honest!).

So it turns out that I’ve been running further than I thought, meaning that my speed hasn’t decreased particularly, I’ve just been running with longer strides. Now I know this, I just need to remember to maintain my form regularly.

Stupid mind & body not working together!

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